51st Series of Meetings of the WIPO General Assemblies
51st series of Meetings of the WIPO General Assemblies are taking place from 23 September to 2 October 2013. Discussions focus on assessment of the Organization's activities during the previous year, including the budget, on current projects and administrative matters. This meeting is followed by the meeting of the various WIPO committees and unions.
Director General of the Organization - Francis Gurry - presented the Report of the Director General to the WIPO Assemblies 2013, in which he outlined achievements of the Organization. In his opening remarks Gurry said that the Organization was financially sound. The most significant achievement of the Organization was the successful conclusion of another new multilateral treaty, the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled ("the Marrakesh Treaty") in June 2013.
F. Gurry also mentioned preparation of two new treaties. The first one concerns designs (design law treaty), the other the protection of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources.
The Organization also progressed in achieving strategic objectives and also in the financial field.
Sound financial management has enabled the Organization to return a surplus in 2012 which was positioned to fund the long-term liabilities, to capital planning and to maintain a stable headcount, while managing an increased work-load. At the end of 2012, at CHF 178.2 million, some CHF 58 million above the level set by the Member States. In line with the recommendations of external auditors the WIPO examined ways to improve the presentation of reserves within the financial statements with the aim of more transparently show the use of reserves.
The principal source of the Organization's revenue comes from the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT ). In 2012, 194,400 international applications were filed, i.e. by 6.6% over the previous year. In 2013, the expected growth is at a lower level of around 4%. Very rapid increase in the number of applications from China in recent years is mitigated, while increasing demand from mature markets, which was affected by the global financial crisis, is picking up.
2013 is likely to be the first year in which more than 200,000 international applications have been filed. It took 24 years from the commencement of the PCT to reach 100,000 international applications filed in a single year. It has taken 12 years to double that number and reach 200,000.